Click here for a printable version of this article.

June 2000: NFPA to Develop a Building Code

This past march, the NFPA's Board of Directors approved a plan to develop a consensus building code as part of a full set of consensus codes and standards. This decision resulted due to a directive given to the NFPA staff in November of 1999 to create a plan to integrate NFPA codes and standards into a complete set. This is the first time the NFPA is developing a proposed structural code. The NFPA structural code is expected to be issued in 2002. This new code is a result of past failures by the three model building code groups to develop one consensus code.

"One year ago, the Board of Directors broadened NFPA's mission, which now reads, in part, ‘to reduce the worldwide burden of fire and other hazards on the quality of life'. The NFPA Building Code will support our mission and let NFPA better serve the public," said Chief Herman Brice, chair of NFPA's Board of Directors. "The Board carefully considered and discussed the NFPA staff's building code proposal, and we enthusiastically support the creation of this new document."

The Reedy Creek Improvement district, a public district in the State of Florida, has made its EPCOT Building Code available to the NFPA to use as a tool. Once the building code project is established by the NFPA Standards Council, it will then be passed to the appropriate technical committees so the NFPA Building Code can be established.

The NFPA Building Code will round out NFPA's Consensus Codes, a full set of codes and standards for the built environment. NFPA will still continue to publish the Life Safety Code. "For some time now, we have been evaluating whether it would be necessary for NFPA to provide a full set of codes, and specifically a building code," said NFPA President George D. Miller. "We have heard from NFPA members, our other constituents, and legislative and agency officials that they want NFPA to develop a building code using our full, open-consensus process."

NFPA President Miller considers the NFPA Building Code one of two key documents which make up the Consensus Codes set. The other is the National Electrical code. The entire code set will be developed so that expertise from all affected interests is reflective in its contents. NFPA will collaborate with its existing partners, including the American Gas Association (AGA), the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO), and the Western Fire Chiefs Association (WFCA). Other possible partnerships are being actively pursued.